Skip to main content

NSA chief squirms at cyber security conference

US National Security Agency (NSA) director Adm. Mike Rogers sat down at the cyber security conference by the New America Foundation earlier this week.

At the event, Rogers was asked a variety of questions on "back-door surveillance", working with other governments and the lack of legality in the current form of surveillance.

One question fired from the chief information security officer at Yahoo, Alex Stamos, asked the chief if the NSA thought it was okay to build defects into encryption allowing the NSA, FBI and other agencies back-door access, to which the director responded by skirting around the issue and claiming "we agree that we don’t accept each others’ premise."

The more meaty question however was when Stamos asked if Yahoo and other internet companies should give unbridled access to the Chinese, Russia, Iranian and Iraqi governments.

Rogers had an even harder time responding to this question, simply stating "I think we can work our way through this." As a sort of weird pseudo code for "most definitely not."

It is clear that, even though the NSA chief turned up at the event, there was no chance of changing his thoughts on surveillance.

The US surveillance tactics have not only hurt their position globally, losing the trust of allies like Germany, Belgium and Brazil, but at home companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo are all turning a blind eye to government requests for help.

New encryption on smartphones by Apple and Google has made it harder for the FBI to reach potential criminals, and new investments in European and Asian data centers remove the ever watching US surveillance eye from user's personal information.

The man who started it all, Edward Snowden, claims citizens should push to see the next Presidential candidate change the US surveillance laws (opens in new tab) and limit both the NSA and FBI's power over internet privacy rights.

There is a similar push in the UK, albeit with less response, to make sure the next government addresses the issue of the GCHQ's massive surveillance and hacking network.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.